1941 in literature
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In poetry: 1938 1939 1940 -1941- 1942 1943 1944
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The year 1941 in literature involved some significant literary events and new works.
- January 3 - A decree (Normalschrifterlass) promulgated in Nazi Germany by Martin Bormann on behalf of Adolf Hitler requires replacement of blackletter typefaces by Antiqua.
- Spring - The Antioch Review is founded as a literary magazine at Antioch College in Ohio.
- April - Jean-Paul Sartre is released from prisoner of war camp on health grounds.
- April 19 - Bertolt Brecht's play Mother Courage and Her Children (Mutter Courage und ihre Kinder) is premiered at the Schauspielhaus Zürich in Switzerland with Therese Giehse in the title rôle.
- May 5 - Kingsley Amis and Philip Larkin meet while both reading English at St John's College, Oxford.
- May 21 - 1941 theatre strike in Norway begins: Actors in the Norwegian professional theatre strike in response to the revocation of work permits for six actors who refused to perform on state radio for the Quisling regime under the occupation of Norway by Nazi Germany.
- June - Noël Coward's comedy Blithe Spirit is premiered at Manchester Opera House in England. Opening in London on July 2, its run of 1,997 consecutive performances sets a record for non-musical plays in the West End theatre which will not be surpassed for more than twenty years. The original cast stars Kay Hammond as Elvira, Margaret Rutherford as Madame Arcati, Cecil Parker as Charles and Fay Compton as Ruth. The Broadway premiere takes place on November 5 at the Morosco Theatre.
- August 6 - C. S. Lewis begins a series of BBC Radio broadcasts that will be adapted as Mere Christianity.
- September 3 - 19-year-old American poet John Gillespie Magee, Jr. flies a high-altitude test flight in a Spitfire V and afterwards writes "High Flight" about the experience; on December 11 he dies while serving in the Royal Canadian Air Force.
- September 6–7 - Under Nazi occupation, Yiddish poet Abraham Sutzkever is among the Polish Jews interned in the Vilna Ghetto.
- c. October - The first known reference to Babi Yar in poetry is written soon after the Babi Yar massacres by the young Jewish-Ukrainian poetess from Kiev and an eyewitness, Liudmila Titova; her poem "Babi Yar" will be discovered only in the 1990s.
- During the Siege of Leningrad, Yakov Druskin, ill and starving, and Maria Malich, the second wife of imprisoned poet Danil Kharms, trudge across the city to Kharms' bombed-out apartment and collect a trunk full of manuscripts, preserving his and fellow poet Alexander Vvedensky's work for decades until it can be circulated.
- Penguin Books publishes the first story book under its Puffin Books children's paperback imprint in the United Kingdom, Worzel Gummidge by Barbara Euphan Todd. The series editor is Eleanor Graham.
- F. Scott Fitzgerald's novel The Last Tycoon, left unfinished on the author's death in 1940, is edited and published by Edmund Wilson.
- Poet Ezra Pound applies to return to the United States but is refused. He begins appearing on Rome Radio, making antisemitic broadcasts sympathetic to the Axis powers.
- Classic Comics series launched in the United States with a version of The Three Musketeers.
- Margery Allingham - Traitor's Purse
- William Attaway - Blood on the Forge
- Frans G. Bengtsson - Röde Orm (part 1)
- Maurice Blanchot - Thomas l'obscure
- Jorge Luis Borges - El Jardín de senderos que se bifurcan (short stories)
- Pearl S. Buck - China Sky
- James M. Cain - Mildred Pierce
- Joyce Carey - Herself Surprised
- John Dickson Carr
- Agatha Christie
- A. J. Cronin - The Keys of the Kingdom
- Eric Cross - The Tailor and Ansty
- L. Sprague de Camp - Lest Darkness Fall (complete novel)
- August Derleth - Someone in the Dark
- Walter D. Edmonds - The Matchlock Gun
- F. Scott Fitzgerald (posthumously) - The Last Tycoon
- Patrick Hamilton - Hangover Square
- Robert A. Heinlein - Methuselah's Children
- James Hilton - Random Harvest
- Anna Kavan - Change the Name
- C. S. Lewis - The Screwtape Letters
- Janet Lewis - The Wife of Martin Guerre
- Robert McCloskey - Make Way for Ducklings
- Hugh MacLennan - Barometer Rising
- W. Somerset Maugham - Up at the Villa
- Oscar Micheaux - The Wind From Nowhere
- Vilhelm Moberg - Ride This Night
- Vladimir Nabokov - The Real Life of Sebastian Knight
- Flann O'Brien - An Béal Bocht
- E. Phillips Oppenheim - The Shy Plutocrat
- Arthur Ransome - Missee Lee
- H. A. Rey and Margret Rey - Curious George
- Rafael Sabatini - Columbus
- Budd Schulberg - What Makes Sammy Run?
- Anya Seton - My Theodosia
- Armstrong Sperry - Call It Courage
- Phoebe Atwood Taylor
- The Perennial Boarder
- The Hollow Chest (as by Alice Tilton)
- Kylie Tennant - The Battlers
- Rex Warner - The Aerodrome 
- Eudora Welty - A Curtain of Green
- Franz Werfel - The Song of Bernadette
- Virginia Woolf (posthumously) - Between the Acts
- Bertolt Brecht
- Noël Coward - Blithe Spirit
- Xavier Villaurrutia - Invitación à la muerte
- W. H. Auden - New Year Letter (British edition of 'The Double Man')
- William Rose Benét - The Dust which is God
- Laurence Binyon - The North Star and Other Poems
- T. S. Eliot - The Dry Salvages (third of the Four Quartets; in February New English Weekly)
- G. S. Fraser - The Fatal Landscape and Other Poems
- Patrick Kavanagh - The Great Hunger
- John Gillespie Magee, Jr. - "High Flight"
- John Pudney - "For Johnny"
- Joyce Carey
- The Case for African Freedom
- A House of Children
- The Oxford Dictionary of Quotations
- Antal Szerb - A világirodalom története ("History of World Literature")
- Rebecca West - Black Lamb and Grey Falcon: a journey through Yugoslavia
- March 13
- April 10 - Paul Theroux, American-born novelist and travel writer
- May 13 - Miles Kington, British comic journalist (died 2008)
- May 19 - Nora Ephron, American novelist and screenwriter (died 2012)
- June 5 - Spalding Gray, American screenwriter and dramatist (died 2004)
- June 27 - James P. Hogan, English-born American science fiction author (died 2010)
- July 12 - John Lahr, American-born author and critic
- August 9 - Shirlee Busbee, American novelist
- September 1 - Gwendolyn MacEwen, Canadian poet (died 1987)
- September 3 - Sergei Dovlatov, Russian short-story writer and novelist (died 1990)
- September 15 - Lindsay Barrett, Jamaican novelist, poet and journalist
- October 2 - John Sinclair, American poet
- October 4 - Anne Rice, American horror/fantasy writer
- October 10 - Ken Saro-Wiwa, Nigerian writer (executed 1995)
- October 13 - John Snow, England cricketer and poet
- October 25 - Anne Tyler, American novelist
- October 27 - Gerd Brantenberg, Norwegian feminist author and gay rights activist
- date unknown - Pepetela, Angolan novelist
- January 4 - Henri Bergson, French philosopher (born 1859)
- January 6 - F. R. Higgins, Irish poet and theatre director (born 1896; died of heart attack)
- January 13 - James Joyce, Irish novelist and poet (born 1882; died following surgery in Zürich)
- January 23 - William Arthur Dunkerley, writing as John Oxenham, English journalist, novelist and poet (born 1852)
- February 7 - Banjo Paterson, Australian bush poet (born 1864)
- February 9 - Elizabeth von Arnim, Australian-born English novelist (born 1866; died in U.S.)
- March 13 - Elizabeth Madox Roberts, American novelist and poet (born 1881)
- March 28 - Virginia Woolf, English author (born 1882; suicide)
- June 1 - Sir Hugh Walpole, New Zealand–born English novelist (born 1884; died of heart attack)
- June 15 - Evelyn Underhill, English poet, mystic and pacifist (born 1875)
- July 4 - Tadeusz Boy-Żeleński, Polish writer, translator and gynecologist (born 1874; killed in massacre of Lviv professors)
- August 7 - Rabindranath Tagore, Bengali polymath and writer (born 1861)
- November 18 - Émile Nelligan, Québécois poet (born 1879)
- Carnegie Medal for children's literature: Mary Treadgold, We Couldn't Leave Dinah
- Frost Medal: Robert Frost
- James Tait Black Memorial Prize for fiction: Joyce Cary, A House of Children
- James Tait Black Memorial Prize for biography: John Gore, King George V
- Newbery Medal for children's literature: Armstrong Sperry, Call It Courage
- Nobel Prize for literature: not awarded
- Pulitzer Prize for Drama: Robert E. Sherwood, There Shall Be No Night
- Pulitzer Prize for Poetry: Leonard Bacon: Sunderland Capture
- Pulitzer Prize for the Novel: no award given
- "“The Bormann Decree” banning the use of the Fraktur typeface". About.com. Retrieved 2013-10-23.
- Therese Giehse interview with W. Stuart McDowell, 1968, in "Acting Brecht: The Munich Years," The Brecht Sourcebook, Carol Martin, Henry Bial, editors (Routledge, 2000) p. 71.
- Bradford, Richard (2012). The Odd Couple: The curious friendship between Kingsley Amis and Philip Larkin. London: Robson Press. ISBN 9781849543750.
- Day, Barry (2005). Coward on Film: The Cinema of Noël Coward. Scarecrow Press. p. 83. ISBN 0-8108-5358-2.
- "Piccadilly Theatre: Blithe Spirit by Noel Coward". The Times (48968) (London). 1941-07-03. p. 2.
- Perry, Mike W. (1998-07-01). "Publication History of C. S. Lewis's Mere Christianity". C. S. Lewis Web. Retrieved 2013-12-02.
- "Первые стихи о Бабьем Яре. Людмила Титова". Babiy-Yar.Livejournal.com. 2012-10-04. Retrieved 2013-02-23.
- Epstien, Thomas (2004). "Vvedensky in Love". The New Arcadia Review (Boston College Honors Program) 2. Retrieved 2006-12-08.
- "Penguin Archive Timeline". University of Bristol. Retrieved 2013-10-30.
- Adams, J. Donald (1941-11-09). "Scott Fitzgerald's Last Novel". The New York Times. Retrieved 2014-01-08.
- Ackroyd, Peter (1980). "Chronology". Ezra Pound and his world. London: Thames and Hudson Ltd. p. 118. ISBN 0500130698.
- Keating, H. R. F. (1982). Whodunit? – a guide to crime, suspense and spy fiction. London: Windward. ISBN 0-7112-0249-4.
- Hopkins, Chris (2007). English Fiction in the 1930s: Language, Genre, History. London: Continuum International Publishing Group. pp. 138–57. ISBN 0826489389.
- Cox, Michael, ed. (2004). The Concise Oxford Chronology of English Literature. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-860634-6.